Friday, December 29, 2006

Everything but the kitchen sheep

The US FDA on Thursday said that cloned animals (including cattle, pigs and goats, but not sheep for some reason) can be sold for human consumption. While the ruling still has to go through a public comment period before it can be made legal, It's a safe bet that it will slide right on through. While this will probably help the sale of certified organic meats, a large majority of people in the US, especially those who are already disadvantaged when it comes to access to fresh foods, will be subjected to this decision without being given the chance to make their own choice. If the FDA ruling that "no unique risks for human food consumption" holds, there will certainly be no labeling required.
FDA: Food from cloned animals safe to eat | CNET News.com

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posted by ryan griffis  # 11:23 AM 0 comments links to this post

Friday, December 15, 2006

Building Better Mosquitoes

Check out this blog post on Building better mosquitoes, that discusses efforts to create modified mosquitoes that would be incapable of carrying the common diseases (such as dengue fever and malaria) that they are often a vector for. Apparently, the Bill and Melinda gates Foundation is behind some efforts at NC State University.

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posted by ryan griffis  # 8:55 PM 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Molecular Colonialism

The New York Times has a story on the "Genographic Project," a multi-million dollar project of the National Geographic Society to collect and study the DNA of global indigenous populations. While the story discusses the apprehension of many indigenous peoples to hand over their DNA for research due to beliefs about geographic origins and land rights, it completely overlooks the documented cases of such research becoming a means of property acquisition for pharmaceutical companies. 

Well known cases include the DNA of a Hagahai man from remote Papua New Guinea, patented by the US NIH in 1995 and Guayami woman. Even those in the "first world" aren't protected from biopiracy, as John Moore's case against UCLA testifies.

So why would indigenous people be wary of such research? They have their own reasons.

posted by ryan griffis  # 5:03 PM 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Mycoherbicides and New Legislation

Apparently, there is a push in the US Congress to test the use of mycoherbicides as part of a drug crop eradication program. Mycoherbicides are specially engineered or selected fungi that release toxins killing plant life. For more info on mycotoxins and their use in weaponized form

posted by ryan griffis  # 3:15 PM 0 comments links to this post

Governing the Genome

Since the very beginning, regulation of transgenic technologies and techniques has been contentious (for a great history of this check out Sheldon Krimsky's Genetic Alchemy). While there are still debates between scientists, corporations and concerned citizens about who should have domain over such regulation, the likelihood that the current paradigm will change, despite the fear mongering related to bioterrorism and synthetic genomics. A new report led by the J. Craig Venter Institute (yes, the same Venter of Synthetic Genomics posted about here before) upholds the basic tenets of self-regulation that have been operational for years. We should fear the unlikely scenario of bioterrorism, but not, apparently, the much more likely corporate mishandling, accidents and outright negligence. 

posted by ryan griffis  # 3:02 PM 0 comments links to this post

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